Former judge Otis Barber feted by Stockton board

STOCKTON – It was a time of new beginnings at the recent Stockton Town Board meeting.

Stockton councilmen Allen Chase and Stan Zembryski were sworn in by the new Town Justice Mark Cunningham, and a celebration was held to honor former Judge Otis Barber.

Zembryski said he is glad to stay on board, with this being his eighth year as councilman.

“I really enjoy it,” he said. “I hope I am doing good for the people.”

Zembryski said he has a good working relationship with the board.

Chase said this is a lifetime job for him with this being his 18th year as a board member.

“I was the supervisor for four years,” he said. “I am the first second generation supervisor of Stockton, since my dad was also a supervisor in the ’70s.”

Councilman Chase said it is a good group of guys he works with and he loves being there.

Cunningham said he has very big shoes to fill now that he is town justice.

“I really appreciate all the help Otis gave me and I feel like it was a very smooth transition,” he said. “I have wanted to be a judge for 20 years.”

Cunningham said he first got into the idea of being a judge when he was in high school and is glad to be doing it now.

“I knew Otis before I got the position,” he said. “He and his wife Patty have devoted countless unpaid hours to help me out.”

Councilman John Beichner said that is the kind of people the Barbers are.

“They are both lovely people,” he said. “You (Mark) have got some big shoes to fill.”

Cunningham said he performed his first wedding right at midnight when he officially became judge.

“My first wedding was at midnight,” he said. “I have had about 60 cases and two weddings to cover since becoming the new town judge.”

Beichner said Otis must have a lot of stories and it had been a long ride.

“You guys are the best,” he said. “There is no question about it.”

Otis laughed as he spoke of his most unusual case.

“The person told me they sped because they wanted to get away from the kids,” he said. “It was Halloween at the time.”

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